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  #1  
Old April 12th, 2005, 03:21 AM
fluke fluke is offline
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Cannot boot pc - (non system disk or disk error message)

Hi there everyone

i have been having some problems with a pc of mine which i am really having trouble figuring out. I would be very grateful to anyone who could spare the time to read my post and try and help me out.

The pc is a compaq deskpro 6400 EN with a 400MHz processor and it was running XP pro fine.
The problem is that i get a non system disk or disk error message when i try and boot.
Now the problem first occured when i fitted some extra ram (second hand off ebay)- a 128 Mb stick(pc100) in addition to the existing 64Mb stick. the ram was said to have come from a compaq deskpro (i see no reason for the seller to have made this up).

i would probably say it was defintely this which had caused the error HOWEVER 1) i'm not sure this could cause a disk error and 2) i had actually opened the pc up quite a few times(to photograph the graphics card) prior to putting in the ram and (as the lid gets a bit stuck sometimes) thought i may have dislodged a cable or have given the hard drive a bit of a knock when doing so. - and since i hadn't run the pc in between doing this and putting in the ram i thought that i may have corrupted the hard drive.(n.b Hard drive was about 7 years old too)

my suspicions seem to have been confirmed when i tried to run a repair installation of XP off the XP disk -which it could not do as IIRC it said setup (or boot files) were missing.
when i tried to reinstall XP i got to the point where it asks you to select a partion or create one etc However it listed only one area the "unpartioned space" however i would expect this to have been the full size of the hard drive (as i.m sure it has been on previous installations).;
however it was only about 2 GB and the HDD was 6 Gb. When i tried installing XP on it it said it was not compatible with XP.

Sooooo - i bought a new hard drive which i thought would solve things BUT i have the same problem - It shows only 1 unpartitioned space which is 8Gb in size (HDD is 20Gb). And when i try and install XP it says it is incompatible.


is it possible the ram could case an error such as this?

please can anyone help?

(oh and no i don't have a floppy in the disk drive )

edit - just to add some more info - when i tried accessing/formatting the original 6gb HDD from DOS i think it gave me a message saying that C:/ was an invalid drive or something (i couldn't do anything with it)

i now have a third 40Gb hard drive (which i was going to install on the compaq as a network "back up" drive) - but don't want to install until i figure out what is going on - in case i have somehow fried the first two HDD's

Last edited by fluke; April 13th, 2005 at 02:48 PM.
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  #2  
Old April 13th, 2005, 12:07 AM
PunjabiFinEST88 PunjabiFinEST88 is offline
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Hey

Well you cant damage you're hard drive like that ... well if it shows up 2 GB but is 6 GB then ur doing sumthing wrong when u partition the Drive then your suppose to Format the Drive and finally install the OS

Above all make sure you're cables n **** are connected properly also want to check the Jumper Settings
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  #3  
Old April 13th, 2005, 12:47 AM
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Murf Murf is offline
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Welcome to CTH

1. Leave the original stick of memory in ONLY. And put the original Hard Drive in

2. Reboot and when the 1st screen comes up just before or during the COMPAQ logo screen the cursor will be blinking, hit F10 (could be F2 for Compaq- but believe it is F10) to enter SETUP you will enter COMPAQ Configuration

3. Somewhere in there you will see the Hard Drive (I am not familiar with Compaq), do a AUTO Detect and see if it finds the hard drive. Or make sure that the hard drive probably labled IDE 0 or IDE 1 is set to AUTO

4. SAVE & EXIT

Does it find the drive and boot?

As suggested the ide CABLE from the motherboard to the Hard Drive may be loose or on Backwards. The RED line on the side of the gray IDE cable should be on the same side as the WHITE power (molex) connector to the hard drive. Also make sure you have all the PINS covered when attaching the ide cable.
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  #4  
Old April 13th, 2005, 12:54 AM
fluke fluke is offline
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firstly thanks very much for responding

Quote:
Originally Posted by PunjabiFinEST88
... well if it shows up 2 GB but is 6 GB then ur doing sumthing wrong when u partition the Drive
the thing is i actually havn't tried to partition either of the drives at all - the original 6Gb drive that was in there when xp stopped working and started showing an unpartitioned space of 2 Gb.
the new 20Gb drive which i just put in just shows 8Gb


Quote:
Originally Posted by PunjabiFinEST88
Above all make sure you're cables n **** are connected properly also want to check the Jumper Settings
i will check them again, but this was something i did think of as the drives (HDD and CD etc) are on a hinged "block" which when moved does stretch the cables a bit.
An original theory of mine was that the HDD had become unplugged and then when the bios detected the new ram on the first run it asked me to press f1 to save the configuration - which as the HDD was unplugged meant the new configuration excluded the HDD.

now this seemed to be confirmed as when i checked the cable to the HDD had indeed become unplugged but after changing the ram again and saving the changes i still had the same problems. - also i couldn't see how this would cause the HDD size to appear diffferent to what it is (which was what lead me to believe it was corrupt - until it happened to my 20gb drive too.



just to add another question to the fray(!) - i have put my 6 Gb drive into another computer to try and test it (not as the primary drive) but it is not appearing as a drive in my computer.
i have used a cable which was originally connecting my two cd drives, (it's a dual cable and the Hard drive is on the last conector) and the jumper is set to cable select. the device manager can see the drive but i cannot access it - am i using the right jumper setting? or does this mean the drive is knackered?

any further help much appreciated - i really don't think i'm gonna be able sort this on my own....
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  #5  
Old April 13th, 2005, 12:56 AM
fluke fluke is offline
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Oop

didn't see your post murf - thanks for respnding i'll have a read and try out what you say

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  #6  
Old April 13th, 2005, 02:36 PM
fluke fluke is offline
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Right

i have tried to do what you suggested murf - however when i am in the bios i cannot see any way to set the hard drive to "auto".

the hard drive is there (under ide devices) but there doesn't appear to be any options to change it in any way - it's just listed there.

i put the original ram back in (as i had done before) but still no joy.

(BTW with both sets of ram in, the pc does seem to recognise it as when it starts powering up - it says in the top right of the screen something like "196,664 memory OK"

i tried again to run a repair installation but when doing so it takes me to a dos screen and although the command prompt was in C:/> any instruction at all led to a "specified file or path is not valid" message -

do you think there would be anything to gain (lose!?) from resetting cmos?



edit - some more information: when trying to reinstall xp it say the disk does not contain an xp compatible partition.
when i try to create a partition it will not let me.

Last edited by fluke; April 13th, 2005 at 02:52 PM.
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  #7  
Old April 13th, 2005, 08:48 PM
fluke fluke is offline
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Right

new info:

i unplugged the IDE cable from the CDROM (leaving it plugged in at the mobo end) and plugged it into the HDD instead.
and it recognises the HDD's full size (6440 Mb) both in the setup (bios)
and just before it enters setup - although it says "1782 - disk controller error" on the screen before it enters setup - which i guess is to do with the fact it's on the secondary ide cable

So - i thought it may be the cable i was using on the HDD but when i swapped it over it had no effect.......

Do you think this suggests there is nothing wrong with the HDD but something wrong with the mobo ?

(god i hope not)
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  #8  
Old April 14th, 2005, 01:17 AM
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Murf Murf is offline
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Well appears that you have narrowed it down to a problem with IDE #1.

It is either the connector on the motherboard or a BIOS setting.

Get back into SETUP (BIOS)
Select your language from the list and press the Enter key.

1. A choice of five headings appears in the Computer Setup Utilities

menu: File, Storage, Security, Power, and Advanced.

2. Use the Tab key to select the appropriate heading and the arrow

keys to select the option you want, then press the Enter key. To

return to the Computer Setup Utilities menu, press the Esc key.

3. To apply and save changes, select File
Save Changes and Exit.

Ok go to the heading STORAGE, now scroll to OPTIONS

You should see:

Primary IDE Controller
Secondary IDE Controller

Make sure BOTH are ENABLED
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  #9  
Old April 14th, 2005, 09:22 AM
fluke fluke is offline
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hi again

i'm not at that computer right now but i'm 99.9%sure that when i went into it yesterday both were enabled. (i'll check again in a minute but i'm positive they're both enabled)

so does this mean you think the connector on the motherboard is kaput?

(i may try changing it to disabled then back to enabled and see if that makes any difference)
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  #10  
Old April 14th, 2005, 05:40 PM
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BigStu BigStu is offline
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Is there a floppy disk in the floppy drive?? if so remove it.
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  #11  
Old April 14th, 2005, 10:09 PM
fluke fluke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluke
Hi there everyone.......
...(oh and no i don't have a floppy in the disk drive )........


OK thanks to everyone who has helped (murf in particular)
but i appear to have sorted it now.....

after much ado i can confirm the first hard drive was kaput BUT i had also caused further error by mistake:
to understand this i need to point out something about my compaq - which is that the motherboard is kind of in two parts.
one part which is flat to the ground with the processor ram and agp slot and another bit which is contains the pci slots and ide connectors which is connected at right angles to the main motherboard bit via a kind of giant pci slot. this second bit is attached to part of the case frame and lifts in and out of the slot via a couple of levers.
when i mentioned i was fiddling around i did lift this second bit out as i as curious to what the levers did.

i had made sure that the two parts were firmly connected before (with no luck)

however i was about to give it up as a write off when i thought i'd just do on last thing: i lifted the board apart again and blew in the slot.....

hooray - the drives showed up as they're full size
it only took another hour or two to figure out that the "1792 disk controller failure" which started to appear was due to the fact i had also changed the jumper on the new hard drive when i was testing it in my other machine and SORTED!

Hooray !

thanks once again to murf - if i hadn't eliminated all these possiblities i may just have given it up as a lost cause.

i guess the morals of the story is, a) give your pc a good dusting every now and again and
b) make sure your pc works before installing new stuff so you can be sure it is the new stuff thats caused it.
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